On Monday, close to 2,700 business honchos and policy leaders from as many as 130 countries will get together for the 53rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The annual meet which will also have close to 52 heads of various countries will be watched with key interest from all over, especially by those working around climate change, as it is set to serve as a springboard for the COP28 climate summit scheduled for later this year. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is also expected to sign a preliminary agreement with the UAE about the UN climate conference, which will be held at Expo City in Dubai.
It won’t be easy for leaders to ignore the climate crisis staring starkly in their faces as the first week of January marked one of the warmest winters of all time in Europe. Compared to 1971, when the WEF’s inaugural annual meeting took place, the snowpack has thinned more than 40% on average.
The WEF in its Global Risks Report 2023, released this week, highlighted how climate crises and the failure to mitigate and adapt will lead to a further fragile environment as the intensity of natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation continues. This year’s top-rated risk is the energy crisis, followed by the cost of living, inflation, and food supplies. Taking a ten-year view, climate change mitigation tops the list, followed closely by climate change adaptation and two other closely related risks – extreme weather events and biodiversity. No surprise that this year, more than a third of the panel discussions on the official agenda is linked to climate change.
In a key development ahead of the meet, real estate and several key industries have pledged to reduce their buildings-related emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and go Net Zero by 2050. According to WEF, real estate emissions account for nearly 40 percent of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions but the sector is often overlooked in decarbonisation strategies.
At the five-day meet, where ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’ is the theme, there’s a clear-cut call for collaboration to develop better indicators for the voluntary carbon market. As is evident, the push for developing a green economy is expected to gather more momentum at Davos 2023